SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 312: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 312

3. May Sarton had a -------- career: it ------- from 1929, when Poetry magazine published her early sonnets, to 1994, when her last collection of poems came out.

A. Limited…. Developed
B. Diverse… foundered
C. Variable… declined
D. Lengthy… lasted
E. Sedate… soared

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. "Lengthy" means long, and "last" means to continue or remain active. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "May Sarton had a lengthy career: it lasted from 1929, when Poetry magazine published her early sonnets, to 1994, when her last collection of poems came out." The information following the colon indicates that both missing terms will address the length of Sarton's career. The fact that her presence in the publishing scene "lasted" so many years means that it was indeed "lengthy."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Limited" means kept within bounds, and "develop" means to come into being. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "May Sarton had a limited career: it developed from 1929, when Poetry magazine published her early sonnets, to 1994, when her last collection of poems came out." The sentence suggests that Sarton's career was long and accomplished, not "limited."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Diverse" means varied, and "founder" means to stumble or break down. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "May Sarton had a diverse career: it foundered from 1929, when Poetry magazine published her early sonnets, to 1994, when her last collection of poems came out." The fact that Sarton's work was published for so many years contradicts the claim that her career "foundered," or struggled. Furthermore, the sentence does not provide enough information to support the claim that her body of work was "diverse."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Variable" means changeable, and "decline" means to get increasingly worse. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "May Sarton had a variable career: it declined from 1929, when Poetry magazine published her early sonnets, to 1994, when her last collection of poems came out." The claim that Sarton's career was changeable contradicts the second part of the sentence, which suggests that it steadily "declined" through the years.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Sedate" means calm, and "soar" means to rise to great heights. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "May Sarton had a sedate career: it soared from 1929, when Poetry magazine published her early sonnets, to 1994, when her last collection of poems came out." A career that "soars" to great heights is not likely "sedate," or calm.

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